Flood insurance: don't put it off
Following a wet and windy weekend, property managers will be inundated with calls from residents facing the fallout from the bad weather. Heavy rainfall means leaking roofs and gutters and localised flooding and we can expect more as we move into winter.
So it's timely that the an independent review carried out for the Government has just published its recommendations for ways to improve people’s awareness of their insurance options in areas where flooding is a high risk, as well as helping to ensure tenants, landlords and property owners have better access to flood insurance.
The review was commissioned by the government following serious flooding in South Yorkshire last November. It looked in detail at the level of insurance held by those affected and the problems they faced in getting cover.
The report found that 97% of owner-occupiers had either buildings or contents insurance, with 95% having both. This is good news and compares well with the 94% for households considered by DEFRA to be at risk of flooding. However, flood cover wasn’t included in the policies of the remaining 6%. So if you extrapolate these figures across the whole country, then a sizeable number of households are falling through the cracks.
In response, the review recommends that:
- Insurers and intermediaries – which includes property managers who arrange insurance on behalf of residents - should do more to help people get the right insurance.
- Landlords in high flood risk areas should provide renters with details of the building’s insurance cover at the start of their tenancy, including the support that would be provided by the insurer to the tenant in the event of a flood.
- Government should explore how it could use its existing powers to compel both private and social housing landlords to comply with this requirement, including through legislation.
Combined with better guidance to tenants from local authorities, the authors of the report believe these recommendations would help people to make fully informed decisions when purchasing contents insurance.
With the Government-backed Flood Re scheme out there to help people who can’t easily get flood cover through their usual insurer, there is no reason for the majority of homeowners not to find a policy that works for them - and clearly most are. This is harder for people living in flats as Flood Re may not provide the cover they need. However, some flats will meet the criteria, if they’re part of a building and a single residential unit. And if the building can’t be covered, insurers can still ask Flood Re to cover the flood risk part of a contents insurance policy or the contents in a combined policy, as long as the property qualifies.
So if you have any concerns about flood insurance, don’t put it off until your block has a problem. Contact our expert property management team at Ringley before the bad weather really kicks in – we’re here to help.
Author : Maryanne Bowring
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